Keith Espe of New River, Ariz., caught a five bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win $43,371 in the FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on Lake Roosevelt with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 47-4.
The catch gave him a solid 3-pound, 7-ounce win over Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 43-13 and earned $17,348.
“I have been fired up all day,” said Espe, who was fishing his first FLW Series event. “I wanted to win because of my parents, I lost my mom in February and then my dad in May and this feels pretty special. I fished the same spot all week, one that I found with my dad five years ago. He and I fished that area every year since we found it; it is an incredible area that is always full of fish.
“I was shaking all day; I didn’t have my first fish until 30 minutes into the day and then I shook for 30 minutes after I caught the fish,” Espe went on to say. “All week I have been using a drop-shot with a bamboo stick and purple worm. The bite was great every morning, but then about 9 a.m. it just shut down and I had to work slow and really grind it out. There is nothing better in the world than to fish bass tournaments and do well.”
Espe opened the tournament in 25th place Wednesday with five bass weighing 8-13; on Thursday he added another five bass weighing 13-14, his heaviest sack of the week to jump into fourth place. He then caught five bass weighing 12-13 on Friday to make the crucial top-5 cut in first place. On Saturday he sealed his victory with another five bass limit weighing 11-12.
“This has just been an incredible week for me,” said 2nd place Lee, who had his truck with much of his fishing equipment on board stolen just prior to the start of this tournament. “To be able to fish the way I fished with what was left of my equipment was just incredible. I have had an amazing week and to finish second, I am thrilled.”
Rounding out the top-5 pros are:
3rd: National Guard pro Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 20 bass, 42, $13,011
4th: Jimmy Savoini, Prescott, Ariz., 20 bass, 39-1, $8,674
5th: National Guard pro Tim Klinger, Boulder City, Nev., 20 bass, 37-10, $7,807
A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Fishing remained stingy all week for the pros at Lake Roosevelt. The storm front that moved through on Wednesday and then the heat that moved in for the remainder of the week kept the fish scattered throughout the lake. The top five anglers were fortunate enough to be patient and grind it out each day and come to the scales with five bass limits every day.
Overall there were 25 bass weighing 50 pounds, 10 ounces caught by five pros Saturday. The catch included five, five-bass limits.
National Guard pro Ehrler, won the FLW Series Western Division Angler of the Year title Saturday with a season total of 777 points, a commanding 21 points over Cody Meyer of Grass Valley, Calif. Robert Lee finished third with 725 points.
In FLW Series competition, anglers and co-anglers were vying for valuable points to help them qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The Lake Roosevelt event was the final National Guard Western Division tournament that will be held in 2010.The top 10 anglers in the points standings after this event have now qualified for the 2011 championship being held at Lake Ouchita. For a complete list of the top-10 anglers in FLW Series Western Division standings visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Jimmy Zanotelli of Redding, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and a Ranger 177TR with a 90 horsepower Evinrude or Yamaha outboard motor Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 29 pounds, 8 ounces. The win also gave Zanotelli the FLW Series Western Angler of the Year honors. Tim Dotson of Loomis, Calif., came in second place with 15 bass weighing 24-11 worth $4,025.
National Guard Pro Ehrler and Zanotelli each won a $1000 gift card as part of the new Cabela’s Angler Cash program. Beginning in 2010, Cabela’s is offering pro and co-anglers the opportunity to register and win a $1000 gift card for being the highest qualified finisher in each division at all FLW Series events, making the stakes even higher in an already rich award package. Anglers can visit FLWOutdoors.com for a complete list of rules and to register.
Coverage of the Lake Roosevelt tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors”, will air Oct. 31 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com
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